Churchgoers turn their backs on Bloomberg in protest during his remarks at service in Selma

A group of churchgoers turned their backs on Democratic presidential candidate Michael BloombergMichael BloombergThe truth behind companies' 'net zero' climate commitments The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan Bloomberg, former RNC chair Steele back Biden pick for civil rights division MORE as he spoke at Brown Chapel AME Church, a historic black church in Selma, Ala., on Sunday.

Footage and images that have since emerged online show a number of protesters standing with their backs turned away from Bloomberg shortly after he began delivering remarks from the pulpit on Sunday morning, the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

Despite the demonstration, Bloomberg went ahead with his remarks, part of which focused on his proposed Greenwood Initiative, which aims to promote “economic justice” for African Americans, and his “commitment to prioritizing criminal justice reform,” according to a release from his campaign.


“Dr. King understood that the right to vote was only the first step in the march to true equality because true equality means that wealth in this country should have no relation to race or ethnicity. That’s what my Greenwood Initiative is all about,” he said Sunday.

“You may know about Greenwood, in Tulsa, Okla., but until a year ago, like so many other Americans, I did not. Greenwood was a thriving and prosperous black neighborhood until a white mob attacked and destroyed it back in 1921. More than 200 African Americans were killed,” he continued. 

“It was one of the worst tragedies in American history,” Bloomberg said. “But sadly, it was just another instance of black families being systematically robbed and exploited, something that didn’t end with slavery but continued with Jim Crow and redlining.” 

“In today’s reading from Isaiah, ‘do right, seek justice and defend the oppressed’ was the call to action. That’s what our Greenwood Initiative resolves to do,” he added.


He also discussed issues such as voter suppression and took aim at President TrumpDonald TrumpHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Man arrested for allegedly threatening to stab undercover Asian officer in NYC Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech MORE during part of his remarks, saying he believes “the wrong person is living in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.” Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech Kemp: Pulling All-Star game out of Atlanta will hurt business owners of color MORE, a leading Democratic presidential contender, were also in attendance.

Bloomberg’s appearance in Selma on Sunday comes just two days before Super Tuesday, when 15 states and territories, including Alabama, hold their nominating contests. It will be the first time voters will get the chance to cast a ballot for the former mayor.

His efforts to expand his campaign’s outreach among black voters also arrives as he continues to face heat over his controversial stop-and-frisk policy from his time as mayor of New York City.